Want to save more money? The best place to start is your energy bill.
The average American spends around $112 a month on energy. Not to mention if you own a home, it’s likely going to be closer to $200.
Now, I’m not going to suggest some of the silly things I’ve heard people recommend, such as throwing away your desktop computer (yes, really). But there are a few easy tips everyone should be aware of to help save on electricity.
Keep in mind that while each change won’t save you a lot, little things add up to be big bucks at the end of the year!
Vampire energy is sucking your money away
Ever hear of an energy vampire? No, not your friend that never stops talking, we’re talking about unused appliances in your home. Whether you like it or not, if something is plugged into a wall socket, it’s pulling some energy, even if it’s turned off.
This is particularly bad for large homes and big families with a lot of appliances. For instance, even just a 4 person family will have:
- 4 to 5 TV’s on average
- Phone chargers in every room
- Computers in each room
- Cable boxes
- Audio setups (sound bars/surround sound)
- Alarm clocks
Yep, that’s a lot of stuff plugged in. Not to mention if you’re a tech-lover like me, it’s probably more than that!
So what can we do to save money on our favorite electronics? Here are a few suggestions.
Unplug electronics you don’t use
Sure, it seems obvious, but Americans pay over 23% of their energy bill on unused electronics. That’s anywhere from $165 to $440 every year! So start saving money today, and unplug those appliances you aren’t using.
Get some powerstrips
Look, I get it, constantly unplugging and replugging can get old real fast. So why not make things easier on yourself?
It’s time to get some powerstrips.
You can turn off every electronic you’re not using within a few seconds with these handy guys. Plus, they’re super cheap! For example, you can snag 2-packs from Ikea for just 7 bucks.
If you’re super lazy, you can even get power strips that turn off with a foot button, like this! Isn’t it wonderful living in the modern age?
Not only will powerstrips help lower your energy bill, but they’ll also protect your precious electronics from being destroyed by unexpected power surges.
Do you have an expensive gaming computer or store important business information on one? Then get yourself a UPS, it’s a live saver. You’ll never have to worry about a random lightning strike destroying your hard drive ever again.
Sleep your computer
Seriously, don’t let that thing stay on. Desktop computers can add an extra $100 per year by being left on. On the other hand, a sleepy computer only consumes about 22 cents per month, so start using sleep mode!
Better yet, turn your computer off
Even a sleepy computer is drawing power, so do one better, and shut it down. Same goes for your PS4, Xbox One and even your TV (if it’s new). Most of these systems have a quick-boot mode that instantly brings you right back to where you were. While this may be convenient, it’s a hefty power drain if you aren’t using your consoles/TV every day.
Simply taking 1 extra minute to power up and start playing games can save you a fair amount of money over the course of a year.
Stop spending so much on heating/ac
For most people, your energy bill is one of the key areas you can save money in. And of course, heating & cooling your home are at the top of that list. With the average household spending over 50% of their electric bill on heating, it’s something we always need to be aware of, particularly in these cold winter months!
Here are a few ideas to cut that heating bill down and do our small bit to help reduce energy consumption.
Turn down the thermostat when you’re at work or sleeping.
According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as much as 10% to 15% on your yearly energy bill by lowering your thermostat. So, if you’re going to be out of the house (or sleeping) for 8 hours, turn the temp down 5 or 10 degrees! Just this small change can save as much as 30% on your energy bill every month.
Lower the temperature and layer up
Shocking, I know, but it’s true. Wearing just 1 extra layer can help increase your body temp by over 8 degrees during the cooler months.
Already layering up and still freezing? Try wearing a scarf inside. By wearing a scarf, you’ll trap in the warm air from your toasty torso and vastly improve your heat retention.
You should be winterizing your windows.
Can you feel a cold draft coming from your windows if you put your hand within 12 inches of it? Then you my friend, have old windows!
By insulating your windows for the winter, you can easily save hundreds of dollars on your heating bill – and it will only cost you a few bucks to do it!
All you need is a cheap window insulation kit, some tape and a lot of patience. If you’ve got huge windows, then you should insulate both the inside and outside of your windows for better results.
Read more about insulating your windows right here.
Use curtains to help heat or cool your home
That’s right, you can use your curtains for more than just blocking the Sun from making it impossible to watch TV.
You can drastically heat (or cool) a house by just using simple curtains. For starters, get some thermal insulated curtains. These bad boys will greatly help with regulating temps. Too hot in the summer? By shutting out the
world Sun you can easily lower a room’s temperature by up to 10 degrees!
Don’t think they’re just for the summer either, open up your curtains in the winter when the Sun’s out to help heat your house. Or, if it’s an exceptionally cold and gloomy day, shut your curtains to help insult the interior of your home. This will keep your windows from leaching out all of that toasty warm air. Your energy bill will thank you!
Fireplaces are awesome, but it’s costing you money
That’s right, contrary to popular belief, fireplaces are not conducive to a low energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, fireplaces are the single most inefficient way to heat our home – in fact, they’re likely to lower the overall temperature of your house instead!
This is due to the fact that fireplaces use air circulation to burn properly – pulling in warm air to feed the fire, thus pulling your home’s toasty air out the chimney.
The chimney on your fireplace sucks up nearly 90% of the heat being made by your fire.
Aside from that, an old fireplace may be constantly venting all of your warm air, even if the damper is closed. Stand next to your fireplace on a cold day – feel a breeze? That means you’re losing a whole lotta heat.
Another thing to consider is how much you’re spending on wood. If you’re chopping it yourself, that’s totally fine. But if you’re spending $120 on a cord of firewood, you’re paying a lot of money to barely heat one room.
Now, I’m not saying never use your fireplace, but it’s important to know how they work and make sure it isn’t costing you big bucks.
How to properly use your fireplace
To get the most out of your fireplace, there’s a few tricks you can use that’ll save you money.
First, close any doors leading to the room your fireplace is in, we don’t want any warm air being pulled to the fire and getting sucked out!
Second, crack a window about an inch in the room your fireplace is located, this will help circulate air flow and spread the warm air around the room. Essentially, what you’re trying to do is turn your room into a big oven and trap the heat in.
Lastly, turn the thermostat down on the rest of the house by 10 to 15 degrees. This will help ensure that you don’t waste money from air being pulled around the house.
Remember, your fireplace is for fun, not heating your home – that’s why you’ve got a furnace.
You can read more about how to improve the efficiency of your fireplace over here.
Myth: Keeping your freezer full helps save energy.
If you’ve been looking up ways to save on energy, you’ll likely see this tip on almost every site. But like most things on the internet, it’s completely untrue. Particularly when people suggest adding water bottles just to fill up space.
In reality, the energy that it takes to freeze those water bottles is the equivalent of cooling down the air over 5500 times. Yeah, that’s going to take a while to catch up.
In the end, keeping your freezer full comes out to around .01 cent in savings over the course of a year. That’s a little silly. You’ll save significantly more money by making sure your freezer door isn’t left open for more than a few seconds – grab what you need and get out!
You can read more about it over here if you really want to see the mathy details.
There’s no doubt that owning a home is expensive, but that doesn’t mean we just accept it and move on. By using just a few of these common sense tips, you can save big on your energy bill – and you don’t even have to give up your favorite tech toys!
Want more ways to save money? Here’s how you can cut costs on entertainment and still have fun!
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